ESPN 2020-2021 Player Rankings: 97. We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year. -- Lopez, Causes for concern: Philly's dominant big man gets a fresh start in Philly with Doc Rivers, but still this is a make-or-break campaign for the Embiid-Simmons combo. PJ Tucker 71. -- Bontemps. He finished fifth in MVP voting despite his load -- whoops, injury -- management and finished second on a per-game basis in my wins above replacement player (WARP) metric in the playoffs. After controversially relinquishing the No. -- MacMahon, One thing to watch for: VanVleet has made famous his "Bet On Yourself" mantra with his rapid improvement on the court. That was down to 24.4 against the LA Clippers, but Jokic dominated the glass (13.4 rebounds) and averaged 6.6 assists. Will Doc Rivers deploy Simmons similarly, moving the All-Star around the chessboard situationally, taking advantage of his versatility on both ends, and mitigating his shortcomings as a long-range shooter? -- Andrew Lopez, Secret skill: Damian Lillard has the clutch-time reputation, but don't overlook McCollum as one of the league's best closers. Clearly, our panel put more weight on Harden's uneven postseason performances. Now 34 years old, Smith has played in the NBA since 2004, and his career overlapped significantly with that of Nowitzki (1998 to 2019). We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year. *Real plus-minus (RPM) is a player's estimated on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. -- Malika Andrews, Cause for concern: There may be no bigger question in the Eastern Conference than what shape Walker's knee will be in when the playoffs arrive. Now the two-time All-Star is looking to shake the disappointment of last season's finish. His next goal is to make the All-Star team -- something he thought he deserved to do last year in his hometown of Chicago. He slashed, played off-ball and improved defensively. Fox ranked just 18th in points per chance among 28 high-volume ball-handlers. We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year. This year, generating more free throws should be a priority. Though foul trouble limited Jokic against the eventual champion Lakers, he still made 58% of his 2-point attempts in an efficient series. ESPN released their #100-51 NBA player rankings list for the 2020-21 season yesterday, which positioned Ball 54th, and one could say that it stirred the hornet’s nest on Twitter. On the daily Locked On Hawks Podcast, host Brad Rowland reacts to ESPN’s Top 100 Player Rankings list and believes that four of the five Hawks included are too low, especially Trae Young. It will be up to Green to set the tone emotionally for Golden State. And the Lakers played better with Davis alone on the court in the postseason (plus-5.0 points per 100 possessions, via NBA Advanced Stats) than with LeBron James alone (plus-0.5) -- a reversal from the regular season. To reach the top 15 of these rankings, Booker will need to show his game translates to the postseason, an opportunity he should get with Chris Paul joining him in the backcourt. Voters had to predict what they expected from each player in the 2020-21 regular season and postseason. Luka Doncic drills a fadeaway 3-pointer as time expires to win the game for the Mavericks and tie the series vs. the Clippers 2-2. After two first-round picks and two pick swaps were attached to his deal to facilitate a trade to Oklahoma City, Paul quieted the critics by leading the Thunder to the playoffs with an All-NBA Second Team performance. And, with Gordon Hayward gone and Kemba Walker injured, there will be more shots for Smart this season than ever. -- Tim Bontemps, Cause for concern: After a devastating quad tendon injury 23 months ago, Oladipo hasn't regularly shown the ability to influence the game at both ends as he did his first season in Indy. By traditional individual measures, the 33-year-old forward was an afterthought, ranking outside the NBA’s top 300 in PER while placing seventh on the Rockets in points and sixth in touches. ESPN Top 100 NBA Ranking Places Lou Williams, Pat Beverley, and Montrezl Harrell in 51-100 Range. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA Spurs, 95), Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets, 94), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks, 86), Montrezl Harrell (Lakers, 76) and Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers, 74) in the ESPN list. ESPN’s NBA experts think highly of Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, and for good reason. A. Sherrod Blakely has ranked his Top 100, and now it's time to find out how the best of the best stack up. This past season, Hayward showed flashes of being the All-Star he was prior to the gruesome leg injury he suffered in 2017. More: Curry relishes opportunity to start "at ground zero again". Stephen Curry vs. James Harden. Here are the top 10 players, from No. If Ingram wants to establish himself as one of the league's best players, he has to improve on defense, something he's committed himself to doing this season. ESPN ranked Zion no.19 on their top 100 best NBA players. If he can stay healthy, we'll find out the floor for a Curry-led offense lacking a second plus scorer after Klay Thompson's Achilles injury ended his season before it began. Every year before the NBA season begins, ESPN compiles a list of the top 100 players in the league. Young needs to decide whether he wants to be a floor general for an annual contender or an electrifying individual performer who leads the league in SportsCenter Top 10 highlights. Voters had to predict what they expected from each player in the 2020-21 regular season and postseason. Who will be the best players this season? Derrick White 95. 11: More: Players 100 to 51 | Rookies to rise | Harden trade candidates, One big question: The lowest-rated 2020 All-Star, Sabonis must prove he can continue to play at the high level he reached last season as one of just three players to average a point-rebound double-double with at least five assists per game (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo were the others). We will find out soon. 2? Previous ranking: 7. 9. Stephen Curry vs. James Harden. Players coming off the same injury have been noticeably less effective than projected upon their return, and KD was already likely to experience some decline in his early 30s. -- MacMahon, One thing to watch for: How will Irving and Kevin Durant look next to each other on the court? Mike Schmitz is an NBA draft expert and a contributor to DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams. Next for Doncic: Leading the Mavs to a series win for the first time since their 2011 championship. We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year. -- Kevin Arnovitz, One thing to watch for: With Gordon Hayward in Charlotte and Kemba Walker sidelined temporarily, the chance for Brown to take another step forward and put himself in position to be named an All-Star is there for the taking. More: What sets Nikola Jokic apart from other superstars. -- Eric Woodyard, One big question: Gilgeous-Alexander was the leading scorer on the 5-seed in the West, building on his promising rookie season with the Clippers. In his second straight game scoring more than 50 points, Damian Lillard racks up 61 points and eight assists as he leads the Trail Blazers to a 134-131 victory in a wild game against the Mavericks. Against the Utah Jazz, who wanted to make him a scorer, Jokic averaged 26.3 points. You could argue the future of the Celtics is bound in this question. Stephen Curry vs. James Harden. However, Vucevic is more well-rounded than you realize. To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players: LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo. 56 on ESPN’s top 100 player … -- Arnovitz, One thing to watch for: A healthy Ingram showed a lot on the offensive end last season as he jumped to career highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, and shooting from the 3-point line and the free-throw line. So, entering the upcoming 2020-21 season, where does Green rank among his NBA peers? Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant. ESPN’s annual pre-season Top 100 NBA Players list always promises to cause a stir and 2020 was no different. And from Embiid's perspective, the causes for concern are clear: health and compatibility. 10 to No. If Fox can force teams to defend him above screens, he's close to unguardable. We asked, "Which player will be better in 2020-21?" More: Players 100 to 51 | 50 to 11 | Future No. With the short turnaround before opening night, it's unlikely James will match last season's 67 (of 71) games played. Lillard was nearly as good in the bubble, winning Player of the Seeding Games for his 37.6 points and 9.6 assists as the Blazers claimed the eighth seed. We asked, "Which player will be better in 2020-21?" Along the way, Jokic showed how he helps his team in multiple ways. -- Andrews, One big question: How close is Hayward to being the Hayward of old? While Wall is a five-time NBA All-Star, his relatively low ranking is largely due to questions about his health, since he hasn’t played since early in 2018-19 due to a … -- Windhorst, One thing to watch for: We saw how lethal Murray can be during Denver's playoff run, and I think he'll take his game to even greater heights thanks to the addition of Facundo Campazzo. One big question: What is his role? This season, the Pelicans envision getting Williamson into more of a slashing and playmaking role, which could unlock what Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin calls "the real Zion." Now, with Durant and Irving healthy, LeVert is poised to emerge as a third star. Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant. If Brown is able to do so, the Celtics will remain a team capable of getting home court in the East quarterfinals. During the regular season, there's no doubt Harden has been far more valuable than ninth in the league, finishing in the top three in MVP voting five of the past six seasons. Green was a steady presence for a young Warriors group early last year after they lost Stephen Curry, but his play fluctuated during a lost season. -- Young, One thing to watch for: Middleton can seem laid-back, but he gets buckets. -- Kevin Pelton. It's a goal he can attain if he continues to improve and the Raptors remain in the mix atop the East. He remains a determined defender and savvy playmaker whose streak of six consecutive All-Star appearances is tied for fourth longest in the NBA. ESPN updated its ranking of the NBA’s best players of all-time with The Last Dance captivating the basketball world. But he's been inconsistent enough for questions to linger. ESPN released a new list ranking the best players in NBA history. More: How Luka compares to the all-time NBA greats. According to Second Spectrum data, Fox's defender went under the screen 312 times last season, the fourth-most in the NBA. He put together one of the great stretches in NBA history in late January into February, averaging 48.8 points and 8.2 3-pointers per game on 57% shooting as Portland knocked off four playoff teams. Who will be the best players this season? As for the rest of the Rockets, Wall checks in at No. Members. He has all the tools -- the size, the talent, the multi-positional skill and the instinct -- to rise to this level. -- Kirk Goldsberry, Secret talent: Did you know that Adebayo executed far and away the most fake handoffs in the NBA last season? -- Lopez, One big question: Whether it's his finishing, pick-and-roll passing or shooting consistency, Mitchell seems to add something new every offseason. The Clippers hope he feels more comfortable and ready to thrive in his second season with the team. More: Teams that can make real offers for Harden. He slammed the door on the Nuggets in Game 7 two seasons ago with a flurry of midrange mastery, and did it again to beat the Grizzlies in the play-in last summer. The best-case scenario for the Hawks is both of the above. OG Anunoby 62. "And I want to continue with that trend." Dinwiddie said heading into this season that he envisions his role to be similar to Draymond Green's role on the Warriors: "If we're gonna liken ourselves to Golden State, the glue -- the multipurpose utility guy." -- Ohm Youngmisuk, One thing to watch for: Williamson was very good last season in his 24 games of work, showing historic levels of efficiency when he was on the court. NBA Bleacher Report's Top 100 Player Rankings from the 2019-20 NBA Season Andy Bailey and Dan Favale Featured Columnist I July 11, 2020 Comments Who will be the best players this season? -- Friedell, One big question: Now with a signed max deal and as the franchise cornerstone, is Tatum the kind of player who can tilt a playoff series his team's direction or is he ultimately a great No. He got better as a shooter, working out a quicker off-dribble release. Check out the highlights from the top 10 players in the league, according to ESPN's NBArank for the 2020-21 season. A three-time NBA champion and the first player to be voted unanimous MVP, Steph Curry was ranked by ESPN as the 13th-best player in league history. Ja Morant explains that he's humble, yet confident, and for extra motivation, he wants to send thanks to the single voter who didn't vote for him for NBA Rookie of the Year. A mobile, 6-foot-11, 242-pound starter should average more than 4.6 rebounds per game. Vucevic is also a good passer whose 3.7 assists per game ranked him fourth among pure centers last season. -- Pelton, What to watch for: Toward the end of last season, Simmons saw much of his time on the floor as functionally a power forward in Philadelphia's half-court possessions, while still igniting the team as its primary ball handler in transition. The Hornets made a $120 million bet that the answer to that question is "pretty close." His half-in, half-out stance on playing in the Orlando bubble didn't inspire confidence. Stephen Curry vs. James Harden. Westbrook's knees have been operated on each offseason for the last seven years; he's not the same athlete he once was. (4:09). Now that he's earned the trust of teammates, look for Brogdon to become more vocal in his approach. The issue is availability, as a broken bone in Curry's right hand limited him to five games last season and he missed a combined 44 games the previous two campaigns. The San Antonio Spurs guard had a funny reaction on Tuesday to his low ranking on ESPN’s list of the top 100 NBA … 10 to No. Leonard's first season in Los Angeles (and the Orlando bubble) didn't have the same kind of storybook ending as 2019 in Toronto. ESPN has got to put some respect on DeMar DeRozan’s name. 1. -- Young, One big question: Beal probably just had the best season in his career but was perturbed, and rightly so, when he wasn't recognized as an All-Star or All-NBA performer. There's a reason much of the league spent this offseason hoarding cap space in preparation for Giannis' possible unrestricted free agency next summer. You have come to the Philippines Edition, for other ESPN editions, click here. A prominent NBA reporter has suggested she views professional basketball players as the "property" of the teams they play for. More: What it took for Anthony Davis to get to this moment. Jamal Murray attacks the basket, but Kawhi Leonard rises to the occasion to stuff the dunk using his middle finger. To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players: LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo. If Toronto wants to go beyond another East semifinals exit, Siakam needs to find one more big leap with his shot. Two days ago ESPN finally finished the release of their ranking of the top 500 basketball players in the NBA with the top spot going to LeBron James.. … -- Schmitz, Cause for concern: At some point, Lowry has to experience the pull of his age (34) ... right? DeMar DeRozan. Skip Bayless Trashes 1 NBA Player’s All-Time Ranking By ESPN FS1. Still, Leonard is primed to outperform his No. He also spent this offseason working on his 3-point shot (after shooting a career-low 32.6% 3s in 2019-20) and being able to go left more comfortably. Porzingis, who averaged 24.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game after becoming a full-time center in late January, can be the second-best player on a championship team. (2:10) ... ESPN.com is predicting the top players in basketball with NBArank. -- Young, Cause for concern: No news is not good news when it comes to Gobert's potential contract extension. -- Schmitz, One big question: Can Paul George bounce back to being a top-10 player? -- Windhorst, NBA debate: Overrated, underrated and Harden trade candidates, Stephen A. blasts Kyrie Irving after Media Day snub (4:09), Ranking the best NBA players, from 50 to 11, NLEX veteran Cyrus Baguio hangs up sneakers, LA Tenorio on Gilas: It's Kiefer's team now, Only six PBA players joining Gilas bubble, but SBP unfazed, Banged-up Marc Pingris thinking about retirement, Potential top pick Malonzo formally joins PBA draft, Hard work pays off for Outstanding Rookie Aaron Black, Rosario, Pogoy, Soyud to enter Gilas bubble on Jan. 22, Javi on decision to return: I want to win a championship for UP, Ginebra players dominate PBA's 45th season special awards, Phoenix signs RR Garcia to new two-year deal, working to renew Justin Chua, Perez, Chua latest PBA players to enter Calamba training bubble, 3x3 stars Santillan, Rike: Time was right to join the PBA, PBA draft top pick: Dyip looking at Munzon, Pasaol, Malonzo, Meralco inks Hugnatan, two other bigs to one-year deals, Gilas pool players start entering Calamba bubble, Norman Black, two others join Gilas coaching staff for Clark bubble, How the PBA navigated through a challenging season, ESPN5.com's 10 most-read local stories in 2020, PBA hopes to stage three conferences for 46th season, Brian Shaw impressed with Kai Sotto's skill set, Kai Sotto recommits to play for Gilas Pilipinas, Kai Sotto hoping to play for Gilas in February, Jong Uichico on Dwight Ramos: 'I think he's PBA-ready'. Despite ranking 37th in usage as a rookie, Morant finished ninth in helpers at 7.3 per game in 31 minutes a night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 72. This is a contract year and, perhaps, the most important season of his career. But a separate ankle injury stopped him from getting all the way back. Mike Conley 68. Last season, Dinwiddie began the year expecting to be the sixth man, but wound up starting 49 games as injuries hit the team. Who are the top 25 players in the NBA heading into the 2019-20 season? -- Royce Young, Secret talent: Despite public perception to the contrary, Smart has become a respectable 3-point shooter, hitting 36.4% of his triples two years ago and 34.7% (on 6.6 attempts per game) last season. He needs to both stay healthy and prove once and for all that he can mesh with Simmons on offense, or else one of them might be gone soon. ESPN, continuing with its Top 74 series, released No. Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant. We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year. He can flex between the 4 and the 5, he can play the roll man alongside a stretch big, or he can space and play alongside a traditional 1. Check out the best moments from LeBron James' championship run with the Lakers in the bubble. Witness his career-best 51-point game against Washington last season. Historical Rankings. Voters had to predict what they expected from each player in the 2020-21 regular season and postseason. Stephen Curry vs. James Harden. -- Pelton, Cause for concern: In each of his two seasons, Young has ranked dead last in defensive plus-minus among more than 500 qualified players. Neither did his overall performance there once he decided to play. — ESPN (@espn) December 10, 2020. "I feel like every single year I've gotten better," LeVert said. At the same time, when last we saw Durant fully healthy in the first two rounds of the 2019 playoffs, he was making a case as the league's most dominant individual force, and reports from players who have played with him during rehab have been encouraging. 1 with text from ESPN's Kevin Pelton. One thing to watch for: Can Morant lead the NBA in assists? Rebound Rate = (100 x (Rebounds x Team Minutes)) divided by [Player Minutes x … 1, Antetokounmpo must improve his scoring against defenses designed to keep him out of the paint. He has the keys to the car. Who will be the best players this season? The two-time Defensive Player of the Year insists that he's focused solely on basketball -- "That's why I have an agent," he said -- but issues could arise if Gobert enters the season feeling unappreciated without a long-term commitment from the Jazz. Having to rely less on deep pull-up 3s and finesse finishes will make him one of the tougher covers in the NBA. 77. More: Leonard ready to "get back after it" following playoff loss. December 28, 2020 Power Rankings, Week 1: Lakers, Bucks and Nuggets start season on top -- Arnovitz, One big question: After expending so much physical and emotional energy during Miami's unexpected run, how will Butler look after just a two-month break? To quote "The Wire," "The King stay the King." To return to No. It was Davis who hit the biggest shot of the playoffs, a 3-pointer to win Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. While LeBron James and high-usage stars like Luka Doncic and James Harden figure to finish ahead of Morant, I'd expect the 21-year-old guard to work his way into the mix as one of the NBA's best facilitators this season. Then George had offseason surgeries on both shoulders and never quite felt like himself. The NBA is back! LeBron: Best thing about contract is potential future with son. The Clippers, trendy picks to win the title, were shocked in the second round after holding a 3-1 series lead on the Nuggets. His struggles during the postseason in the bubble were profound. ESPN Forecast polling conducted in coordination with Microsoft Research and The Wharton School. Harden tumbled five spots in the rankings after back-to-back top-four finishes, and it's tough to say how much that reflects his uncertain future in Houston after a short training-camp holdout and a trade request. We asked, "Which player will be better in 2020-21?" (1:48). ESPN continued to reveal its player rankings for the 2020-21 season Wednesday, and Green came in … NBArank top 10: Check out who made the cut (1:48), Ranking the top 10 NBA players for 2020-21, NLEX veteran Cyrus Baguio hangs up sneakers, LA Tenorio on Gilas: It's Kiefer's team now, Only six PBA players joining Gilas bubble, but SBP unfazed, Banged-up Marc Pingris thinking about retirement, Potential top pick Malonzo formally joins PBA draft, Hard work pays off for Outstanding Rookie Aaron Black, Rosario, Pogoy, Soyud to enter Gilas bubble on Jan. 22, Javi on decision to return: I want to win a championship for UP, Ginebra players dominate PBA's 45th season special awards, Phoenix signs RR Garcia to new two-year deal, working to renew Justin Chua, Perez, Chua latest PBA players to enter Calamba training bubble, 3x3 stars Santillan, Rike: Time was right to join the PBA, PBA draft top pick: Dyip looking at Munzon, Pasaol, Malonzo, Meralco inks Hugnatan, two other bigs to one-year deals, Gilas pool players start entering Calamba bubble, Norman Black, two others join Gilas coaching staff for Clark bubble, How the PBA navigated through a challenging season, ESPN5.com's 10 most-read local stories in 2020, PBA hopes to stage three conferences for 46th season, Brian Shaw impressed with Kai Sotto's skill set, Kai Sotto recommits to play for Gilas Pilipinas, Kai Sotto hoping to play for Gilas in February, Jong Uichico on Dwight Ramos: 'I think he's PBA-ready', What sets Nikola Jokic apart from other superstars, a short training-camp holdout and a trade request, Teams that can make real offers for Harden, Curry relishes opportunity to start "at ground zero again", Durant "ready for anything" in Nets' new smallball lineups, Leonard ready to "get back after it" following playoff loss, How Luka compares to the all-time NBA greats, What it took for Anthony Davis to get to this moment, Best thing about contract is potential future with son. With two seasons left on his contract before he can become a free agent, it's a real question and probably should be the central issue on the franchise's mind. Just how good Durant is 18 months after suffering an Achilles rupture during his final game with the Warriors is one of this season's swing questions. *Real Plus-Minus (RPM) is a player's estimated on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. 41-74 on Monday and 11-40 on Tuesday. Zion Williamson vs. Ja Morant. -- Brian Windhorst, One thing to watch for: Before the Nets signed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, LeVert was arguably the face of their young, tenacious squad. A sluggish start to the season was a distant memory when Jokic showed up trim for the seeding games and helped lead the Nuggets to their first conference finals since 2009. The next great superstar served notice to the league in his second season, becoming the youngest player ever to earn All-NBA First Team honors based on age as of opening night. With a healthier roster fortified this offseason, Portland hopes not to rely so heavily on Lillard again in 2020-21, but he has proved capable of carrying the load. Can he do it again in Phoenix? How does Gilgeous-Alexander handle the responsibility of producing nightly and the frustrations and failures that come with it? 81 on ESPN’s list. To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players: LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo. Here are the next 40 players, from No. To get the final NBArank prediction, we asked our expert panel to vote on pairs of players: LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo. But as he enters his sixth season, that big bag of tools needs to translate to the most important skill: consistent winning. Still, the Rockets will rightly expect a prime package of players and picks if and when they trade Harden. -- Bontemps, One thing to watch for: Towns is a prototypical modern big, with shooting, passing and handling skills. 1 candidates, Nikola Jokic hits a clutch turn-around hook shot on Rudy Gobert to lift the Nuggets to the Game 7 win vs. the Jazz. -- André Snellings, Cause for concern: Porzingis has yet to finish an NBA season healthy, and he won't be ready to start this one due to knee surgery. We are ranking the top NBA players for the 10th year.